Monday, December 23, 2002

Ketchikan's allegations are telling
Gateway Forest Products, the Ketchikan veneer plant, would have helped bring prosperity to Ketchikan, if it hadn't been for the environmentalists, those "enemies of the state."

Lisa's the one
Congratulations to both Gov. Frank Murkowski and Sen. Lisa Murkowski! Already the CAVE (citizens against virtually everything) people are grumbling about this appointment.

Downtown ready for customers
'Tis the Saturday before Christmas - and I counted 48 locally owned stores downtown selling a wide variety of holiday gift items.

MacKinnon best for city
It was very discouraging to hear that on a 5-4 Juneau Assembly vote John MacKinnon was eliminated from consideration for permanent city manager.

Fond memories of grocery
For many years I lived across the street from Family Grocery, and I remember many of the names mentioned in your recent article on its closing.

Prefers woods without roads
The recent restoration of the roadless rule by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Dec. 12 is a major victory for America's wild public lands.

Need different approach to development
Recent anthologies in the paper rekindle hopes and various persuasions. The old threadbare pitch for "a Juneau road," especially during the Murkowski road trip, shows a sincere but insensitive view of a promising 21st century. There does exist a more enlightened ecological approach to development schemes aimed at our dwindling natural habitats.

Governor should resign
Gov. Frank Murkowski said it would be a difficult decision and yet most of us knew it was coming. His decision to appoint a family member to his own vacated Senate seat is a decision that disrespects the democratic process and redefines political nepotism. If state Rep. Lisa Murkowski wanted to be our Alaska senator, she should have tried the old-fashioned way.

Appointment smacks of monarchy
A funny thing happened while I was at work today. Suddenly we changed from the being the state of Alaska to the monarchy led nation of Franktonia. Leave your integrity at the border. A place where positions of power are inherited by the children of the new royalty.

Thanks for saving Fireweed Place
The AARP Mount Juneau Chapter 865 would like to congratulate and thank the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. and the Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority on their collaborative efforts that have resulted in a viable solution to the problems of Fireweed Place.

Santa's spirit lives in Juneau
Though he drives a truck instead of a sleigh, lives in Juneau rather than the North Pole, and probably won't be sliding down any chimneys early in the morning of Dec. 25, Jack Marshall takes his role as Santa Claus seriously. With his long, white beard, tall stature and friendly smile, he's convinced many children, and even some adults, that Santa is more than a Christmas legend. "It doesn't take but once to have a young child put her arms around your neck and say, 'I love you, Santa Claus,' and they mean it," Marshall said. "It makes you realize what a wonderful thing it all is."

10,000 points of light
Last year Kieran O'Farrell and her husband, Fred Kaiser, decked their house at 3153 Pioneer Ave. on Blueberry Hill with so many Christmas lights it blew their circuits. This year they didn't cut back. They just rewired. Their house twinkles in the frosty night like a Vegas casino.

Police investigate laundry burglary
Police are investigating a burglary Sunday at Alaska Laundry in which money was taken from a safe.

AroundTown
Listing of local nonprofit events.

Photo: Morning becomes Juneau
A full moon watches over the Federal Building on Saturday morning.

Land swap on Douglas wins OK
The U.S. Forest Service has agreed to swap federal land on Douglas Island for private land in south Hood Bay on Admiralty Island.

Christmas church services
Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church 10300 Glacier Highway, 790-4267 The Rev. Tom Liesener Christmas Eve Candlelight Service 7 p.m. Christmas Day Service 10 a.m.

A car crash and a miracle
The wheels on Elmer and Ramona Ignell's brand-new 2002 Toyota Corolla wouldn't straighten out. They were locked. There was no avoiding it, the couple was headed straight for a ditch and right into a "miracle."

Around Town
Around Town is a listing of local nonprofit events.

Police look for murder victim
Police have their man, his motive and the way he dispatched the victim - all they need now is a crime.

Police and Fire
Juneau police, fire officials and state troopers reported:

Police & Fire
Reports from Juneau police, fire officials and state troopers.

Sunday fire
Firefighters put out a small blaze midday Sunday at Alaska Litho.

This Day in History
In Alaska

New screening procedure starts at Juneau Airport
Security screeners at Juneau Airport began to examine some checked luggage for bombs last week in preparation for a New Year's Eve deadline. David Mitchell, the federal security director for Southeast Alaska, said the Transportation Security Administration will screen all checked luggage for explosives here by Dec. 31.

Correction
Due to incorrect information supplied to the Empire, the name of a newborn baby was misspelled in the FYI section in Friday's edition. The baby is Dakota Rey Lynn Stacy.

Outlaw beavers' days may be numbered
The U.S. Forest Service says it will kill a colony of beavers in the Dredge Lakes area this winter to preserve fish runs and reduce flooding on trails. But some Juneau residents wish the agency either would leave the beavers alone, or at least trap them alive and move them. "It's fun to watch some of the work they're doing even if it's going to flood the trail you're walking on," neighborhood resident Betty Seguin said.

This Day in History
In 1919, the trading store of the Sons of Norway in Petersburg was destroyed by fire.

Edward Lee Smith
Juneau resident Edward Lee Smith died Sunday, Dec. 15, 2002, in Juneau.

Correction
An obituary for Edward Kenneth Haffner that ran in Friday's Empire didn't mention that donations can be made in his name to Hospice and Home Care of Juneau.

Empire editorials: This community owes MacKinnon a debt of gratitude
Last spring when City Manager Dave Palmer and his deputy, Donna Pierce, resigned their positions the city was left with a gaping hole in its executive office. The burden on the city manager's office had grown over the years. The pressure and complexity of managing the city and borough's operations and dealing with increasingly contentious and difficult issues in the Assembly no doubt exacted a toll on Palmer and Pierce.

Toe

My Turn: Coeur contributes to 'sustainable mining'
I must respond to Shoren Brown's Dec. 8 "My Turn" column about sustainable mining, Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp. and the Kensington Mine project located 45 miles north of Juneau.

My Turn: Holiday vandals steal dreams, hard work
I am replying to my mom's letter about the vandals who thought it would be fun to steal people's Christmas dreams and hard work.

What do you think?
"Many rural areas of our nation are dependent upon the access to and resources of our national forests. The roadless policy prevents both! We need a thoughtful balance of preserved land (wilderness) and managed land where grazing, timber harvest mining and other extractive activities can take place."

Techwit: Big Brother in a red suit
Every once in a while you read about the 14-year-old computer geek who hacked into his high school's mainframe and changed his geometry grade from an F to an A. Well, it's gotten worse. The security of Santa Claus' database was recently breached by a cyber intruder called "Bad Boy Toy," who did some serious tampering with Santa's information. Now no one really knows for sure who's naughty or nice.

Eaglecrest preps for the ski season, whenever it comes
Paul Swanson tromped across the snow, punching through the crusted surface on his way to check a snow-gauge pole planted near the top of the Ptarmigan chair lift. "Looks like 19 inches," said Swanson, mountain manager for Eaglecrest Ski Area. Pointing higher up the mountaintop marker, he looked into what he hoped would be the near future: "It'll probably be here when it's open. That's 52 inches."

Out and About
Dec. 24: Christmas Eve at Eaglecrest, starting with kids' ornament decorating at 3:30 p.m. Torchlight parades at 5:30 and 6 p.m. Santa arrives at 6:15 p.m. Details: 586-5284 or 790-2000. Dec. 25-Jan. 1: Juneau Alpine Club Camp 17 trip. Details: Tim Arness 209-2589.

Kayaking, hiking Berners Bay in November
Unusually warm weather for late fall prompted me to extend the kayak season and an overnight camping trip to a quiet beach cabin seemed like an ideal way to spend a weekend. Berners Bay, a likely choice for this time of year, and the availability of the cabin at the end of the bay, launched the Juneau Alpine Club kayak camping trip. Carol Race, Tim Arness, Ric Iannolino, and I started out from Echo Cove early on this overcast early November Saturday morning. Greg Bledsoe and Don Larsen left Friday.

Winter Web links
Alaska and Pacific Northwest ski area Web sites.

Christmas at Eaglecrest
"Weather" or not we have a white Christmas in Juneau remains to be seen. But despite what Mother Nature has in store for us this holiday season, the annual Christmas Eve celebration will continue at the Eaglecrest Ski Area this year.

Cavaliers suffer a meltdown
CLEVELAND - Paul Pierce put some fight into the Boston Celtics, and Antoine Walker finished off the Cleveland Cavaliers. Walker scored 23 points to help the Celtics overcome the ejection of Pierce and a 19-point deficit in an 89-82 victory Saturday night. "When Paul went out, coach called a lot of plays for me," Walker said. "We came alive and played defense the way we're supposed to."

A holiday tradition
The 10th edition of the Holiday Cup Indoor Soccer Tournament kicked off on Saturday with coed play in four age groups.

Juneau girls go 3-0 in Fairbanks
A stout defense kept the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team in a lot of games last year. But an inconsistent offense kept the Crimson Bears from doing much more than qualify for the Class 4A state tournament before losing in the playoffs. This year, the Crimson Bears still have that strong defense. However, it appears Juneau may have an offense to go along with it this season.

Sports in Juneau
Information on upcoming sports and outdoors events in Juneau.

Sports in Juneau
Information on upcoming sports and outdoors events in Juneau.

State Briefs
One man killed, another injured in plane crash; Noisy parishioner drowns out piano, is arrested; Fish plant faces fine for alleged illegal dumping; Fears of forced cleanup put sports complex on hold; Homer volunteer charged with sex abuse

Minimum wage goes up
Minimum wage in Alaska will increase from $5.65 to $7.15 an hour beginning Jan. 1.

Fairbanks man indicted on federal fraud charges
FAIRBANKS - A federal grand jury has indicted a Fairbanks man on 45 counts, including fraud and money laundering, for allegedly receiving Veterans Administration checks intended for his mother after she had died.

Alaskans donate gifts to Russians
Ten-thousand shoe boxes stuffed with everything from small toys to toothbrushes are being sent to orphans in the Russia Far East.

Photo: A hedgehog of her own
Sarah Markle kisses her new hedgehog, Babe, during the Alaska Hedgehog Club's open house and holiday party Sunday at Animal Control in Anchorage.

Bomb found on Ketchikan school grounds
ANCHORAGE - An explosive device was found on the playground of a Ketchikan elementary school, police said. The device - a propane bottle with a clock attached - was "definitely capable of causing harm," Ketchikan chief of police Grant Sirevog said Friday after the instrument was deactivated by bomb disposal experts from Fort Richardson.

Study: Alaska leads nation in rate of firearms stolen
FAIRBANKS - Alaska leads the nation in the number of firearms stolen per thousand homes, according to a report released Wednesday by a Washington, D.C.-based gun-safety group. That ranking may result from the state's small population - about 634,000 residents - and the high number of households that own guns, said a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

North Slope worker killed on the job
A North Slope worker was killed when he was struck by a plug that blew out of the 28-inch pipe he was working on, a BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. spokesman said Saturday.

Alaska's unemployment rate outpaces nation's
Alaska's unemployment rate for November was 6.7 percent, up four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month, according to state labor officials.

New federal rules prevent snowmobiles in Moose Pass
New federal rules for the Chugach National Forest for the first time have silenced the sound of snowmachines in the Moose Pass area.

Villagers warm up to roads in Bush
A decade ago, Yukon River villagers would have been riled up at the idea of extending the Elliott Highway from Manley Hot Springs downriver to Ruby, Kaltag or Nome. But times, and attitudes, have changed.

Santa's helpers in Fairbanks get busy
Santa's Clearing House in Fairbanks, an annual Christmas charity run by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, is doing a bustling business.

Tribes sue state, saying kids are separated from their culture
Two Alaska Native tribes have filed a lawsuit, accusing the state of violating state and federal laws regarding the care of Native children in state custody.

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